Drugstores are filled with aisles and aisles of low-priced, great quality cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen and more, which is a treat for any skin-care junkie. However, the same thing that makes drugstores a great place to shop for bargain beauty buys can also make it a bit stressful. We’ve consulted four dermatologists to see how they would spend $50 at a drugstore to help you narrow down the products in your shopping cart to those with an established fan club of experts.
Rochester, NY dermatologist Lesley Loss, MD
When breaking it down to the bare necessities, Dr. Loss picked out a cleanser, moisturizer, SPF, retinol and an extra cure-all. She suggests Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($12) for morning and night cleansing. “It’s gentle if you have sensitive skin and gets the job done.” Another Cetaphil product makes an appearance in Dr. Loss’s cart. “Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream ($13) is a great all-around moisturizer for body, hands and feet,” she says.
For dry lips and hands or cuts and scrapes, it’s always good to have Vaseline ($2) around. Daily sunscreen usage is so important to prevent aging, notes Dr. Loss, and she likes the two-in-one CeraVe AM SPF 30 Face Moisturizer ($15). For a great drugstore retinol, Dr. Loss recommends RoC Retinol Anti-Aging + Firming Night Face Moisturizer ($20) to help with anti-aging and reduce fine lines.
Glenn Dale, MD dermatologist Valerie Callender, MD
There seemed to be a few fan-favorite brands among the doctors. Dr. Calendar also suggested CeraVe and Vaseline. Dr. Callender likes Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($11) and Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($13). “My skin is extremely dry during the winter months, and the ceramides help to nourish my skin and protect it from the cold weather,” she says.
According to Dr. Callender, Vaseline Lip Therapy ($2) is the best solution for dry, chapped lips, which is great news because it also happens to be one of the cheapest. When it comes to makeup, Dr. Callender knows “long thick black eyelashes are a must-have,” and to achieve this look, she likes L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara ($7). When it’s time to take the mascara off, she turns to Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($6) because it’s “the best way to remove waterproof mascara.”
New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD
Just like Dr. Loss and Dr. Callender, Dr. Waldorf also thinks petroleum jelly is always good to have around, so Vaseline appears on her list as well. For the shower, Dr. Waldorf suggests Dove Deep Moisture Foaming Body Wash ($7). When it comes to SPF, Dr. Waldorf likes Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Face Lotion – SPF 50 ($11).
Although La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Cream ($21) is one of the pricer skin-care purchases at the drugstore, you get the bang for your buck because it’s great for both your body and your face. To wipe the day away, Dr. Waldorf recommends a cult classic, the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Ultrasoft Cleansing Towelettes ($7).
West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD
“50 bucks in a pharmacy can be very productive if you have a good eye,” says Dr. Beer. One product Beer is partial to is Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo ($7). The shampoo leaves behind minimal residue and keeps the scalp healthy. For sun protection, he recommends Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid Sunscreen SPF 50 ($12).
Also on Dr. Beer’s list is any facial moisturizer from Olay that features niacinamide, minoxidil foam for hair loss and a mild cleanser, like the one from CeraVe. Dr. Beer also notes Vitamin D and plant-based iron are two good additions.
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